3rd Star, from the Edmonton Oilers, numero 4, Taylor Hall... finally, the correction has arrived. Hall has a career shooting percentage of 12.1%. Until eight days ago, he was shooting at 6.8% this season. Something had to give, and it did. Hall scored on five of his 14 shots this week, including two PPG and a GWG. He added three assists, a plus-5 and four blocks, and if the guy drafting in front of you next year skips Hall because he's a "band aid boy", don't make the same mistake. Sure, he's reckless, but beyond the shoulder surgery, his injuries have been more like freak accidents, and all you need to know is over 82 games, Hall's stats this year prorate to 29+61=90, 71 PIM, 270 SOG, plus-5, and 29 PPP. Holy shit. If this is the 21-year old Hall, imagine his peak.
2nd Star, from the Toronto Maple Leafs, numero 19, Joffrey Lupul... what a week for Lupul: five goals (3 GWG), 12 shots, plus-4, eight hits, and three blocks. He had goals in all four games, and finished off the week with a dominating four-point game against the Senators. Since he came back from IR, five of his six games have been multi-pointers, and he scored at least one goal in all six of those games. Even more impressive considering he switched lines (Phil Kessel - Tyler Bozak to Nazem Kadri - Nikolai Kulemin) and didn't miss a beat.
1st Star, from the San Jose Sharks, numero 31, Antti Niemi.. make it four consecutive weeks with a goalie taking first star honors, but my hands are tied here as Niemi put together a win streak equal to or better than our three previous 1st stars (Sergei Bobrovsky, Jake Allen, Cory Schneider), AND Niemi was the only goalie of the four to post two shutouts. Those two goose eggs were part of our straight wins for Antti this week, over which he posted scintillating 1.22 / .952 peripherals. Somehow he's kept his statistical shit together this season, despite the Sharks hitting rock bottom along the way. Overall he stands fourth in wins (16), third in save percentage (.925) seventh in GAA (2.13) and fifth in shutouts (3). If the Sharks can stay on a bit of a roll, Niemi could be looking at a Vezina nomination.
Rookie Star of the Week: Jonathan Huberdeau. Hubs had points in all three games this week, going 1+4=5 while taking over the overall rookie scoring lead with 25 points. Seven shots, two PPP, three hits and two blocks aren't going to hurt you either. Huberdeau is on an 82-game pace of 30 goals, 27 assists and 219 shots. Not bad for a guy I took seventh overall in last summer's FHS UDL inaugural prospect draft. Compare Huberdeau's performance so far to Cam Collingwood's number three pick, Sven Baertschi, and you can see why Cam buries his regrets by touting Matt Cullen as his biggest steal of the year.
Breakout Star of the Week: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Seven assists in four games, and Nuge is rolling, FINALLY. Previous to this outburst, you were looking at 11 points in 27 games, which is absolute crap for a guy averaging over three minutes on the league's fifth-ranked powerplay. All of this is easy to forgive when you remember he's still only 19, and if there's any chance you can pry him from an impatient keeper league GM, you should definitely travel back in time a week and do that.
Breakdown of the Week: Brad Boyes. I mentioned to mjm44 that I was considering Boyes for the dubious Breakdown award, and his exact text response was, "Boyes stinks always". Which is true, but my dead grandmother could play a few shifts on Tavares' wing and end up with a handful of PPP to go along with another broken hip. But while there is no resurrecting my dear grandma to play in the NHL, Boyes actually had 4+8=12 in the 11 games previous to this week, where, in three games, with exactly 13 minutes of powerplay time, Boyes had no points, no PIM and four shots. Which, if you rostered Boyes like I did, really, really stinks.